Interest in online educational game

Classcraft is an online educational role-playing game developed by Canadian high school physics teacher Shawn Young, and aims to make learning an adventure in New Zealand schools. Photo suppied.
Classcraft is an online educational role-playing game developed by Canadian high school physics teacher Shawn Young, and aims to make learning an adventure in New Zealand schools. Photo suppied.
A new online educational role-playing game, touted as being able to ''supercharge the way school pupils learn'', is attracting much attention from New Zealand schools.

The game, Classcraft, was released in New Zealand and Australia this week, and already the Canadian designers of the game have received a flood of inquiries from Kiwi schools about using the game in their classrooms.

Classcraft is the brainchild of Canadian high school physics teacher Shawn Young, who saw an opportunity to leverage technology to encourage teamwork, increase pupil motivation and foster good classroom behaviour.

Mr Young told the Otago Daily Times this week the world was experiencing a shift in education practices, where schools had access to more technology and information than ever before.

However, they needed better tools to engage pupils in ways that were compatible with how they learnt today.

''That's why we developed Classcraft and have worked so hard to ensure that the game is customisable for any classroom, anywhere in the world.

''As Canadians, we feel a strong historic bond with Australia, and New Zealand in particular.

''Both countries are important markets for Classcraft and we've already received inquiries and interest from teachers in the region looking to implement the game in their classrooms.''

Shawn Young.
Shawn Young.
Mr Young said he created the game after searching for a new way to engage and motivate his 11th grade pupils.

He did it by tapping into his background in gaming and web development.

After testing the game with his pupils for three years and drawing interest from colleagues, he teamed up with his business-savvy father Lauren Young and creative director brother Devin Young, to build a refined version of the game that is subject-agnostic and customisable.

Classcraft easily layered on top of existing lesson plans to supplement classroom learning, he said.

''Students today learn differently than they did 50 years ago, but the way we teach hasn't quite caught up.

''We have amazing technology at our fingertips, yet we haven't figured out how to unlock its fullest potential in the classroom.

''When I started testing Classcraft with my students, I saw engagement skyrocket, and in some cases, even saw those who were failing, turn around their grades.

''The beauty of the game is that it goes beyond the textbook to teach real-world skills like teamwork through something that every student can relate to - play.''

Mr Young said the game taught the value of co-operation, team spirit, classroom etiquette, hard work, and the idea that learning could be fun.

''Playing Classcraft has a real-life impact for students. They earn experience points by scoring well on exams, helping other students, having a positive attitude or by participating in class.

''Conversely, they lose points by showing up late to class, disrupting the class or by poor results on exams and assignments.''

j- ohn.lewis@odt.co.nz

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